Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And The Blogpoints Go To...

Kimota94 and PeterJ who both got the answer to the previous 'Simple Puzzle' post.

Monday, February 26, 2007


So I did my taxes yesterday - at least a first cut of them. Despite being a computer geek most of the time, I do my taxes with pencil and paper...and, sickly, enjoy doing them that way. Maybe I'm cheap, but why would I spend $30 or so on software that will fill in a few numbers, do some simple arithmetic and file my taxes for me when I can do most of that myself almost as easily?

Anyway, I couldn't finalize them because I haven't got my RSP receipt for January and February of this year yet - but I know what the amount is, so why not fill out the forms ahead of time, right.

It turns out that this year I had almost exactly the correct amount of taxes deducted. My refund comes to $33.08, which means the income tax withheld by my company was 99.91% accurate.

Computer Free Weekend

I just completed a computer free weekend for the first time in as long as I can remember. After coming home from work on Friday, I didn't turn on my computer (or any other computer) for the duration of the weekend.

This was partly because of a challenge from my wife saying that I was addicted and couldn't go 24 hours without checking my email, and partly to try to take a complete break from work this weekend, because I know this coming week is going to be busy and I want to be fresh and re-invigorated.

Simple puzzle

Find a 6 digit number in which the first two digits are the product of the third and fourth digits, the first digit is double the second, the third digit is one less than the fourth, the last two digits are the sum of the third and fourth, the last digit is one less than the first and the fifth digit is two less than the last. The sum of all the digits is 23.

2 blogpoints to all correct answers prior to tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chess is breaking the Internets

I tried to go to chessworld.net this evening to check if any of my current games are waiting for me to move and what did I get but an error message:

The page cannot be displayed

The request cannot be processed at this time. The amount of traffic exceeds the Web site's configured capacity.

Please try the following:

  • Click the Refresh button, or try again later.
  • If this error persists, contact the Web site administrator to inform them that this error continues to occur for this URL address.

HTTP Error 500.13 - Server error: Web server is too busy.
Internet Information Services (IIS)

Technical Information (for support personnel)

  • Go to Microsoft Product Support Services and perform a title search for the words HTTP and 500.
  • Open IIS Help, which is accessible in IIS Manager (inetmgr), and search for topics titled Monitoring and Tuning Web Application Performance, Performance Monitoring and Scalability Tools, and About Custom Error Messages.

Wireless Problems Solved

Thanks to Tammy for her suggestion...but after a little digging last night I figured it out.

There were three different programs all trying to help manage the wireless network settings, plus a 'helpful' app from Rogers.

The three network management programs were all getting in each others business and changing settings and stuff, so I uninstalled Network Magic (which came with the router), and disabled the Dell wireless software and just let Windows manage the device - simpler is better.

The Rogers app was a self-diagnostic app that ensured the network settings were correct in programs like Outlook and such and it could ping the right gateways, servers, etc. to make sure I could reach the Rogers stuff. I don't need it - so I uninstalled that too.

Now it's working like a dream.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Damn Wireless Connection

Since switching my ISP from Bell Sympatico to Rogers Yahoo! my wife's computer has had a very flaky wireless connection. We've got the same wirelese router hooked up (some cheap DLink thing), but for some reason, with the new ISP her laptop sometimes detects a second wireless network (named 'roxy') and when it does, it disconnects from my network and asks which network I want to connect to.

She's using Windows XP, and my network is set to automatically connect. It's the first (and only) network listed as preferred. Yet every time she's online for more than 20 minutes or so she'll drop the connection at least once.

Now she equates my geekiness with being able to solve this problem...but I'm stumped. Anybody out there with any suggestions?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Robinson Crusoe

I just finished reading Robinson Crusoe for the first time - another classic that I apparantly ignored during my formative years. Of course I knew the general story already - man gets stranded on a deserted island and struggles to survive.

A couple of things I didn't realize:

  • He's stranded for about 30 years! Some of the things he accomplishes on the island are incredible, but when you realize the amount of time he spends there (and really what else is he going to do) it becomes more plausible.
  • How religious the book is. One of the items Robinson Crusoe rescues from the shipwreck is a bible, and though he was not religious prior to his predicament he becomes 're-born' on the island and actually converts a cannibal he rescues to Christianity as well.
One idea espoused in the book is one of optimism. If you constantly compare yourself or your situation to those in a better situation, a feeling of jealousy and inadequacy is a natural (although undesirable) response. Instead, look on your situation as compared to those less fortuante and you will likely find yourself in a positive frame of mind. Furthermore, if you think about the number of people in each of those two camps (better off and worse off), you are almost guaranteed to find yourself better off than the majority.

Work Stuff

There's been quite a lot of stuff going on at work recently - some good, some bad.

Good: The bonus plan paid out the full amount on the last payday. More money is almost always a good thing (although, they say it's the root of all evil)

Bad: A unsubstantiated and untrue accusation that I bullied and/or intimidated a partner into a direction that they didn't necessarily agree with. If you know me, then you likely laughed at that last statement since I'm not really a bully or that intimidating (unless you're sitting across the chess board from me, that is).

Bad: Constantly switching priorities and messages from the executives make it seem like we are in a constant panic mode and always reacting to crises rather than proactively following a sound strategy.

Good: As a result of the latest priority shift I'll be working on some cool stuff for the next 6 weeks or so. Hopefully practicing and reinforcing some good skills and habits in myself and helping out some others. I'll be working predominately in C, which I enjoy a little more than Java - probably because it takes more discipline to write good, understandable C code.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Where are the updates?

Some of you (Kimota) may be wondering where the updates are? Well I've been really swamped at home recently and haven't really been turning on the ol' web browser at night. Some of the things keeping me busy:

  • Valentine's Day prep. Maya is incredibly excited about Valentine' s day this year. She's really into crafts and making hearts and cards for various people she knows. Her day car had a Valentine's day party yesterday (the day before, I know) which required baking and stuff.
  • Elliot's sleeplessness. He's getting all mixed up with days and nights and he isn't sleeping much between 2 and 5 in the morning. These leads to less sleep for me and Kelly, which in turn leads to less inclination to blog (because I can't string too many coherent thoughts together)
  • Chess. I've made it into the semi final round of a couple of tournaments online. This takes my nightly computer time up. I don't have the kind of brain that can look at a position once and then work through the possibilities in my head. I have to constantly look at the actual board and work things through. It takes me 15-30 minutes to decide on each move, after which I'm normally ready to go to bed.
  • Solution to the last math post. Kimota94 got the solution right (5 blog points for him) by experimentation, but I'm going to post the solution using the Simplex method of solving Linear Programming problems. The problem is the solution is very verbose and Blogger is not ideal at formatting mathematical solutions (there needs to be a Matlab like version of blogger for all the math related blogs entries that probably aren't being written because of the barrier of formatting!!!)
  • A little bit of laziness. I've got a couple of ideas in mind for upcoming posts, but each will take the dedication of at least an hour to write them and I just haven't been able to summon up the energy to take them on yet.
Patience, dear readers. I haven't given up on the blog.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A New Addition.

My brother, Paul, and his wife, Kim, welcomed their first born into the world today at 6:25.

They had a boy, weighing a whopping 10 lbs 8 oz, and named him Connor William Hindle.

Congratulations to them.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

More Math...

A diet problem:

Using the information in the table below, construct the cheapest diet that gives the dieter at least 2000 kcal of energy, 55 g of protein, and 800mg of calcium.

FoodServing SizeEnergy (kcal)Protein (g)Calcium (mg)Price/Serving (cents)Max daily servings
Eggs2 large1601354132
Whole Milk237mL160828598
Cherry Pie170g420422202
Pork & Beans260g2601480192

Environmentalism and Me

I'm the first to admit that I don't do everything I can to be environmentally friendly. To be honest convenience wins out (easily) over environmentalism with me. I know that the environment is the hot topic out there these days (kinda reminiscent of the whole Acid Rain scare when I was in high school - but when was the last time you heard that term?) but for me to 'get all green', there has to be convenient ways for me to make the socially responsible choice. Here are some examples of where I make good and bad environmental decisions:

Good: I've chosen to put 30% of my RRSP portfolio in a socially responsible fund. (Acuity's Clean Environment Equity Fund). This is so easy to do - I can't believe more people don't do it.

Bad: My family owns two cars, and I drive to work every day. With two small kids, it's just too inconvenient not to drive all over the place. Maybe if we lived in a climate that was a little more friendly year round it would be easier for me to get rid of a car...there's always global warming. Note: I don't own a van or an SUV...just sedans.

Good: I keep my house at relatively low temperatures (19C when occupied and not sleeping), have a high efficiency gas furnace, turn lights off when not in use, and I'm replacing the regular incandescent bulbs with the energy efficient fluorescent bulbs as they burn out.

Bad: My kids wear disposable diapers. Not all bad - as I'm not doing as much laundry as I would be with cloth diapers. But there's no other choice I'd consider - sorry, Mother Nature.

Good: I recycle and I'm pretty adamant about splitting out the recyclable stuff from the regular garbage. This is inconvenient to do, but once you're in a routine, it's not that bad. I'm not sure how much it actually helps though. I have a feeling it all ends up in the same place despite my best cleaning and separation efforts

Good: I only use organic fertilizer and no pesticides on my lawn. I switched last year primarily for health reasons - don't want my kids rolling around in chemicals. But it's better for the environment too. Plus the lawn care company I use offers an organic program at the same cost as the traditional program.

Bad: I don't feel bad about the environment and what I do to it. I don't advocate environmental choices and, at this point, I don't see myself preaching it as that important to my kids. I guess I feel that entrepreneurs out there will figure out a way of turning this crisis into a business opportunity, will make tonnes of cash, plus save the world with or without my extra efforts.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Post 100

I never thought I'd make it this far. I think the drive to continue has been fuelled by the comments I've received throughout this 2 1/2 months. Specifically I think Kimota has been the most vocal in his support and encouragement. So thanks, to all of you, especially Matt.

I'll continue to post things that I'm interested in as this blog is mainly for me to look back on in the future. However, without the readership it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable.

So, what sorts of things would you guys like to see me post about in the next little while? More math? More trivia? Music reviews? Links to wacky things I see on the web? My personal trials and tribulations? Detailed positional analysis of various chess games I play online? Anything else?

Thanks again, and I hope you keep reading.

Oh - and a quick 5 blog points to anyone who shares their favourite post so far.

The "Purple Rain" Game

So the Colts won SuperBowl XLI - going against my prediction making me 8-3 for the postseason. Not bad - not great, definitely not enough to make me want to wager real money next year.

To be honest, I fell asleep during the SuperBowl. I was watching it about 2 hours tape delayed on my PVR after getting the kids to bed. Started watching and was really excited about the Bears scoring an opening kickoff touchdown return. Devin Hester (if that's how you spell his name) is a really special player. Hopefully he will continue to excite throughout his career rather than fall off the map like Dante 'X Factor' Hall of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Following that play, I found the opening quarter to be predictable. Manning struggled early - probably getting use to the feel for the ball in the rain. Apparantly there was more rain during that SuperBowl than in all previous outdoor SuperBowls combined (8/9th of an inch fell during the game). The Colts seemed to adapt to the conditions much better than the Bears. They pretty much stopped going for the deep ball - which is always trickier to complete in bad weather and concentrated on short passes (mainly swing passes and flare outs to Addai on 3rd down) and the running game. The Bears on the other hand kept letting Grossman throw the ball deep - which led to no big plays.

Prince - one of my favourite musicians played the show at half time on a stage shaped like his former symbol. The diminutive Minnesotan looked like a cross between Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix strutting around the stage in a teal suit with a bright orange suit (Miami Dolphin colours - an homage to the home town fans). He didn't look thrilled to be performing in a downpour - but went through his set professionally although he didn't acknowledge the crowd at all.

The combination of Prince performing at half time plus the deluge of rain throughout the contest has led some in the media to dub SuperBowl XLI the "Purple Rain Game". Not sure if it will stick like the "Ice Bowl", or the "Catch", or the "Drive", or the "Immaculate Reception"...but I sure hope it does.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Football is Almost Over

SuperBowl XLI kicks off at VI:XXV this Sunday (Feb IV)...here's my all too brief analysis and prediction.

The Colts have arguably (that's so cliche - and easy to say!) been the best regular season team in the league for the past 3-5 years and have finally managed to put their playoff demons behind them and make it to the big game. Not really because of Peyton Manning - more so because of the ineptitude of their opponents and the surprisingly effective Colts defense. Manning still seemed like he had 'happy feet' and has definitely not been throwing with his normal 'laser like' accuracy.

The Bears also have been winning despite the play of their QB. The NFC championship game against the Saints was pretty close until Reggie Bush taunted Urlacher on they way to scoring the last Saints touchdown (and entered the end zone with a completely unnecessary flip). From that point on, it seemed like the Saints angered the "Football Gods" and nothing went their way.
The Bears have won a bunch of games this year with big plays on special teams and defense. I think they'll need to continue that trend to overcome the Colts.

Almost everybody I've read is picking the Colts. And for that reason, I'm going to go against the grain and pick the Bears. I think they'll get a lucky score on either a kick return or a turnover. And I think their defense will hold the Colts offense in check...long enough to frustrate Manning and he'll self destruct under the pressure to finally win his SuperBowl ring.

The Prediction: Bears XXIII - Colts XVII

BlogPoints: Not Completely Useless

I've decided to attach some meaning to these 'BlogPoints' I've been so carefree in handing out. For each 20 blog points you receive you may post one item to my blog without any editing on my part.

It's your chance to air what's on your mind to the few people that read this thing - including the possibility of ridiculing me. Anything except pornography is OK by me - and I go by how the Supreme Court defined pornography: "I Know It When I See It".